I miss those days, especially around the holidays.
When you were little, you were so excited to decorate the tree as you hung the ornaments haphazardly on the branches.
Now you’d rather watch Netflix and upon my urgent demands, you grab a few and hang them quickly so you can get back to your show.
When you were little, you couldn’t wait to see Santa and wrote letters with wonder in your eyes and expectancy in your words. You talked incessantly about your gift list and wondered what he’d bring.
Now you tell me you want money and gift cards, and with drowsy eyes, you come downstairs to a few gifts you already know you got, because my gosh, it’s too hard to shop without your approval.
When you were little, we spent afternoons making crafts for family members, spilling glitter and glue as you adorned your gifts with love.
Now you rarely think to make or buy a gift for others in the family. It’s an accomplishment to have you sign all the Christmas cards.
When you were little, we made a mess in the kitchen while baking cookies and decorating them with icing and sprinkles. You licked your fingers and asked for more as we carefully placed them on holiday plates.
Now you ask when the cookies will be done, so you can stop playing your video games to raid the kitchen and scarf them all down.
When you were little, you loved spending time with your family while playing games, watching Christmas shows, and doing all those fun holiday activities together.
Now you’d rather hang with your friends instead. Family time is limited now, with your sports schedules and social calendars, your school work and your dwindled desire to spend time with your parents.
When you were little, at the sign of that first snowflake, you squealed with excitement and hurried outside wrapped in layers of winter gear. You built snowmen and snow angels and came in for hot cocoa to warm up while I dried your soaking wet snowsuits just in time for you to go out again.
Now you want to go skiing and sledding with your friends.
When you were little, you eagerly opened the advent calendar as you fought over who would get to do it each day. The stirring in your hearts with anticipation as we got closer to Christmas was contagious.
Now you forget to do the advent calendar, there’s no countdown because your schedules are packed and there’s just too much else to do.
When you were little, you always left a note for Santa on Christmas Eve and put the cookies and milk out too. We’d track Santa online and see where he’s flying to next and as he got closer to our country, we hurried you to bed. You said you heard his sleigh bells one time.
Now there’s no Santa to track or sleigh bells to hear. You’re just psyched to get gifts the next day.
When you were little, you’d wake up at the crack of dawn and come to our room squealing with excitement while hurrying us downstairs to find an explosion of gifts under the tree!
Now you sleep in later and there’s no squealing with delight when you see what’s under the tree.
I miss when you were little…
The magic is gone, the wonder is worn, the thrill of it all is lost in the rapidly changing ages and stages and phases of childhood.
You are too old to feel the magic in the air and experience the wonder of it all.
So, we’ll watch Netflix together and snuggle under the blankets on the couch for hours. I love that we enjoy the same shows. I promise to stay on my side.
I’ll make those cookies for you to munch on too because eating them is more fun anyway. Please clean up after yourselves, okay?
I’ll take you to the mall and hang at Starbucks while you shop. Maybe you’ll let me come with you to see all your great finds and help you pick out that sweater.
Maybe we’ll go see a movie or go bowling when you don’t have practice or meets or matches. It’s always a blast when we bowl and there are some good movies I know we’d all enjoy.
We’ll keep going to church during these busy weeks too. I love the important conversations we have as you grow your faith in your own way.
I’ll feed you and your friends those meatball subs you love while you play fortnight in the basement. Just come up for air after, say, about three hours, okay?
But this is the new season where those magical moments are replaced with a different kind of wonder.
Instead of seeing the wonder in your squeals of joy as you watch that first fallen snow, I find it in your growing view of the world.
Instead of witnessing your excited anticipation for Santa’s arrival, I’m filled with awe in your anticipation of emerging dreams.
Instead of capturing all those magical moments that transpire, I’ll embrace the magical ways you are transforming.
Instead of celebrating all the joys of your childhood, I am celebrating how you are creating and cultivating your character.
So, although I will always miss when you were little, there’s freshly found magic and wonder in these teen years…
It’s all around you everywhere.
It just looks and feels a bit different when you’re grown.